West Brom 7 Gateshead 0

Risingstar Saido Berahino netted four times against the minnows of Gateshead as TonyPulis’ reign in charge of the Midlands’ club started on a high, with aconvincing 7-0 thrashing in the FA Cup third round. The Cup is meant to be achance for the lower league clubs to mix-it with the big boys of the PremierLeague and occasionally to enact a giant-killing act. That was never likely atthe Hawthorns as West Brom breezed past their non-league opposition in finestyle, as one would expect from a team of their capabilities.

Berahino, the Burundi born but English-qualified striker,seemed to particularly enjoy his afternoon against the North-East side,although his goal celebrations seemed distinctly low key.

He certainly hadsomething to prove after his initial flying start to the season has petered outsomewhat in recent weeks, although he did score the equaliser in the league drawwith West Ham on New Year’s Day. Against Gateshead he was a constant thorn intheir side and scored four times, including some clinical finishing, to hoist his season’s tally to thirteenalready. Would be suitors for his talents would have no doubt taken due notice,although some astute pundits were suggesting that the goals may have boostedthe likely transfer fee required to prise him from West Brom by at least a coupleof million pounds as a result ! Still only 21 years old, he was a star in theEngland under-21s successful European Championships’ qualifying campaign andsat on the bench for the full England side in the last set of matches.

West Brom’s seven goal advantage was rounded out throughadditional goals from Victor Anichebe, Chris Brunt and James Morrison, givingPulis grounds for optimism going forward that he can turn their league formaround. Rumours suggest that he has been offered a £1 million bonus should hemanage to maintain his new side’s Premier League status, although the new manin charge would prefer to instil higher goals for his side than that one would expect,given the players available to him.